Trail Food Friday: Simple Squares herb- and spice-flavored bars

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Simple Squares bars are indeed simple, with ingredients you can list on one hand.

Simple Squares

Simple Squares makes eight flavors of nut, honey, and spice bars. // Photo: Kassondra Cloos

It’s not too often that you come across a sage-flavored trail bar, but Simple Squares has a lot more to offer where that came from. Its line of clean trail snacks, made with nuts, honey, coconut, and spices, includes eight flavors: Rosemary, Cinna-Clove, Coffee, Coconut, Cho-Coco, Chili Pep, Ginger, and Sage. Five hungry testers in the SNEWS and BACKPACKER office tried all eight flavors for this week’s Trail Food Friday. There were three clear winners: Rosemary, Cinna-Clove, and Coffee. We liked most of the other bars to varying degrees, but these three were the only ones that all five of us agreed we'd take with us on the trail. We'll spare you the details of the fight for the leftovers.

Simple Squares bars are the just-right consistency: a soft bar with crunchy nuts held together with honey. Here's what we thought about our three favorites.

Cinna-Clove: This bar was, by far, the most interesting. We all picked up different flavor notes, even though its list of organic ingredients is quite short: almonds, cashews, vanilla, honey, coconut, cinnamon, cloves. One tester said he felt like he was eating mincemeat pie, another realized she had had a craving for cloves, and a third tester said it reminded her of baklava—but much less sticky and messy. We give this flavor an 8 out of 10.

Rosemary: Rosemary is another flavor you don’t typically find in trail food, but we were glad Simple Squares experimented with this herb. It was sweet with a light flavor that reminded us of rosemary cake. It was our favorite of all the herb flavors, and we give it a 7.5 out of 10.

Coffee: Even the non-coffee-drinker in our group of testers really liked this bar, and that’s saying something. It’s reminiscent of chocolate-covered espresso beans, even though there’s no chocolate in it. You get the coffee flavor, but it’s not overpowering. It’s balanced by the sweetness of organic honey in a way that makes us think this is what coffee sugar scrub would taste like if it were meant to be a snack. We give this bar an 8 out of 10.

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